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National Park Quiz 28: Rivers

The O'Shaughnessy Dam flooded the Hetch Hetchy Valley, creating this lake. Photo by Sublimelmage via Flickr.

1. The accompanying photo, which was taken in a national park, shows the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, a lake formed by a dam on the
a. Merced River
b. Tioga River
c. Tuolumne River
d. American River

2. There are 58 units in the National Park System that have been designated National Park. How many of these 58 National Parks have the word “River” as part of their name?
a. none
b. one
c. two
d. three

3. All of the following rivers are partly protected in national parks EXCEPT: (Choose the one that does not flow in or through a national park.)
a. the Yukon River
b. the Delaware River
c. the Ohio River
d. the Snake River

4. The book titled The Everglades: River of Grass, which was written by ______, helped redefine the Everglades as an ecologically valuable river – albeit a very wide, shallow, and slow-moving one -- instead of just a worthless swamp.
a. Rachel Carson
b. Aldo Leopold
c. Joseph Wood Krutch
d. Marjory Stoneman Douglas

5. Which of the following rivers that flow in or through national parks is the longest undammed river in the coterminous U.S.?
a. The Buffalo River.
b. The Yellowstone River.
c. The St. Croix River.
d. The Tuolumne River.

6. The Niobrara National Scenic River is located in
a. north-central Nebraska
b. east-central Tennessee
c. southeastern Alaska
d. southeastern Maine

7. All of the following rivers flow in or through national parks, but the only one in this group that flows in a generally northerly direction is the
a. Virgin River
b. Cuyahoga River
c. Delaware River
d. Chattahoochee River

8. The _____ National Recreation Area is situated on a river that originates outside the U.S.
a. Lake Meredith
b. Lake Roosevelt
c. Lake Chelan
d. Lake Mead

9. Each of the following river-focused National Park System units is wholly situated in a single state EXCEPT: (Choose the one whose boundaries extend into more than one state.)
a. Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
b. Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River
c. Bluestone National Scenic River
d. Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area

10. River Styx and Echo River, two rivers in the same national park, are unusual because they are
a. glacial rivers tinted pink by rock flour
b. tidal rivers that reverse direction twice daily
c. rivers that flow underground
d. rivers that flow only after geysers erupt

Extra Credit Question:

11. Which of the following river-focused national parks is partly located within the borders of another national park?
a. Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River
b. Obed Wild and Scenic River
c. Ozark National Scenic Riverways
d. Alagnak Wild River

Super Bonus Question:

12. The New River, the centerpiece attraction of New River Gorge National River, originates in North Carolina. To reach the sea, water molecules entering the New River at its source will have to travel
a. over Niagara Falls
b. through Maryland
c. approximately 700 miles
d. for about 110 days


(1) c – The lake, which drowned the picturesque Hetch Hetchy Valley, was formed by the construction of the O'Shaughnessy Dam on the Tuolumne River in the 1920s.

(2) a – Well, at least there are none so far.

(3) c – The Ohio River is a “working river,” with lengthy stretches oriented to urban-industrial-transportation functions. Certain cultural/historical sites within the river corridor might someday become national parks, but none has thus far made the cut.

(4) d – Douglas’ influential book was first published in 1947, one month before Everglades National Park was established.

(5) b – There are no dams anywhere along the 671-mile long Yellowstone River, a Missouri River tributary that originates in Yellowstone National Park.

(6) a – Situated about 300 miles northwest of Omaha, the Niobrara was rated by Backpacker magazine as one of America’s top ten canoeing streams.

(7) b – The Cuyahoga River flows northward and enters Lake Erie at Cleveland.

(8) b – Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area is on the upper part of the Columbia River, which originates in the Canadian province of British Columbia.

(9) d – Big South Fork is situated in northeastern Tennessee and southeastern Kentucky.

(10) c -- River Styx and Echo River are underground rivers in Mammoth Cave.

(11) a – About 69 miles of the 196-mile long Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River is within the borders of Big Bend National Park. The rest is downstream from Big Bend.

(12) d -- During their 2,300-mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico, the water molecules will travel for about 110 days and drop a total of 1,428 feet in elevation. Over half of that drop (750 feet) is accounted for by the 50-mile stretch of the New River downstream from the Bluestone Dam.

Grading: 9 or 10 correct, rest on your laurels; 7 or 8 correct, pretty darn good; 6 correct, passable fair; 5 or fewer correct, nothing to brag about.

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